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Napa and Northern California

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738 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, USA
Lots of restaurants brag about having a farm-to-table ethos, but few stick to it as adamantly as Farmstead restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch Winery in Napa. Nearly every ingredient—from the grapes that go into the wines, to the beef used in...
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These classes are now taught on-line at the Route to India website.After four months of traveling in 2010, I moved to San Francisco and was immediately craving one of my favorite dishes—South Indian dosas. Luckily in San Francisco, Route to India...
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United States
Yellowstone National Park is no secret by any stretch of the imagination. Yellowstone is one of America's most popular tourist destinations, and with good reason; there few places in the country where you can rub shoulders with grizzlies, smack...
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Lower Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA, USA
Bourbon and Branch is a traditional speakeasy. Their 8 house rules—hushed voices and no cell phones among them—encourage neighborly conversation in a very relaxed setting. It's a great way to meet people if you're traveling alone as...
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75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA

While Japanese gardens have come to be an expected feature of many botanical parks around the world, the Japanese Tea Garden, which opened in 1894, was the first public tea garden in the United States. The original plot consisted of less than half...

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317 Cedar St # A, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
David Wright introduced me to pu-erh tea at his happy, mellow, stimulant-infused palace of tea culture in Santa Cruz. I went to the city with this stop in mind, and am so glad we made it a priority. David let me taste teas, and even made "tea" (a...
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75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
Visit the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco for a calming escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It's located beside the De Young and Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, and offers a variety of snacks to nibble on while enjoying...
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730 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Overlooking Yerba Buena Gardens is a wonderful tea café called Samovar. This is the place for tea connoisseurs as they offer tea varieties from all over the world as well as limited edition teas. Samovar also offers tea and food pairings...
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1044 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Walls of tea and a tea tasting experience mean an immersive tea experience in the heart of Chinatown, San Francisco.
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39171 Tassajara Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA
In 1967, Tassajara (already a storied hot springs resort) became the first Zen monastery outside Japan. Run by the San Francisco Zen Center, the monastery is open to the public from May through September and closed the rest of the year for...
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8447, 2499 Melru Ln, Escondido, CA 92026, USA
Deer Park Monastery is tucked away in the hills of Escondido and is based on the Buddhist traditions of the famous Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. It is a sister monastery to Plum Village in France, where Thich Nhat Hanh resides....
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47900 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
Described by devotees as the most luxurious, one-of-a-kind lodging experience in all of California, the Post Ranch Inn was purpose-built to blend in with the Santa Lucia Mountains. Opened in 1992, and designed by famed Big Sur architect Mickey...
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52801 California State Route 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
After five hours in the car, I was more than happy to hop out and hike the 1.4 miles out to Pfeiffer Burns State Park and get the prize of a beautiful waterfall. The water's color is an unreal sea blue/green that I have never seen before. The best...
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3940 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
They do their own blend of beans called Elbow Grease, and it’s high-octane stuff.
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3876 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
This bakery just opened across the street from Woodshop. It’s a godsend. It’s been rough finding good coffee out here, but they serve Blue Bottle Coffee and breakfast sandwiches on house-baked biscuits.”
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375 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
A key player in the "third wave" coffee movement is Four Barrel Coffee, founded by Jeremy Tooker—who has a particular love for light roasts and the bright, acidic flavors that come with this method. Don’t let that description deter you, though;...
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2049 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702, USA
Welcome to my new favorite, neighborhood cafe near the intersection of University and San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. The space is inviting (both inside and out), the communal tables and cozy chairs plentiful and the Four Barrel coffee delicious with...
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748 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
I'm a coffee snob. I admit it. And the best coffee I've ever had is at Philz, an SF icon, that brews one cup at a time. My fave is the dark and smoky Ether, ordered medium sweet with light cream.
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Purdon Rd, Nevada City, CA 95959, USA
I just spent the weekend following the 4th of July up near Nevada City. It got over 90 degrees during the day, so we headed to the river. Although lots of people had similar ideas, I was with a local who directed us to this spot and we had it to...
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3901 Packer Lake Rd, Sierra City, CA 96125, USA

My wife, Robin, and I have been camping, fishing, and hiking in the Lakes Basin area, near Sierra City, since we met. These days, our usual home base is a tiny log cabin at the edge of Packer Lake, pictured here. From trailheads around Packer you...

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The Monterey Bay area on California's central coast is possibly my favorite part of California--it is that beautiful. On a recent cold January morning, I took my dogs to Asilomar State Beach at one end of the town of Pacific Grove. As the clouds...
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Big Sur’s winding roads, plunging cliffs and canyon-spanning bridges may cause nausea but they provide some of the most striking scenery in the country. After miles of lush green forests and sapphire blue oceans, the palm trees and turquoise...
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71895 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
For such a remote region, Big Sur has more than its share of amazing places to stay. One of the most unique is Treebones Resort, nestled high in the foothills of South Big Sur overlooking the Pacific. The off-the-grid property offers 16 signature...
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Presidio Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
Artist Andy Goldsworthy's Wooden Line meanders its way through a grove of Eucalyptus in the Presidio, inviting all to take off shoes and balance beam through the forest. The sculpture, formed from the trunks of eucalyptus, gently curves its way...
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45500 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
One of my favorite campgrounds in Big Sur is the big open meadow at Andrew Molera State Park. It's great for large groups and it's one of the best bases for hiking and surfing in the area. More than 20 miles of trails run throughout the park's...
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Yosemite National Park, 1 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
Although a very popular hike in the Yosemite Valley, the hike past Vernal Falls up the mist trail to Nevada Falls is magical in the Springtime. Personally, I think this is the best spot to stop and have lunch. However, Be sure to check the signs...